As we look ahead in 2022, we are not far removed from the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25), when activists around the world begin to observe 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), ending on Human Rights Day (December 10).
This campaign seeks not only to raise awareness on the plight of girls and women, to hold governments and other decision makers accountable, but also to celebrate progress toward gender equality.
According to the World Health Organization, one in three girls and women, around 736 million people, will be subjected to physical or sexual violence over their lifetime by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This statistic has remained mostly unchanged over the past 10 years.
Increase in gender-based violence during the pandemic
School closures carry high social and economic costs for children across all communities, but most especially for girls. The resulting disruptions caused by COVID-19 have only exacerbated existing disparities in education faced by women and girls.
The pandemic related school closures have seen an increase in girls’ vulnerability to various forms of GBV and increases their time spent on domestic chores. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can best be described in the words of Haroon Rashid: “We fell asleep in one world and woke up in another.”